Mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Michelle Knight-MicQuillan arrived at the Dark Hedges to experience one of the Borough’s and Northern Ireland’s, finest tourism location of all times.
Supported by Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey MLA, Carol O’Kane of the Causeway Coast Heritage Trust and Colin Tweed of the Hedges Hotel, the team have been working together to secure opportunities for this area of tourism.
With over two hundred years of natural magnificence, this beautiful avenue of beech trees was planted by the Stuart family in the eighteenth century. It was intended as a compelling landscape feature to impress visitors as they approached the entrance to their home, Gracehill House. Two centuries later, the trees remain a magnificent sight and have become known as the Dark Hedges.
A known photographer’s favourite, the Dark Hedges is one of the most photographed natural phenomena in Northern Ireland and a popular attraction for tourists from across the world. It has been painted by hundreds of visiting artists and is a favourite location for wedding photographs.
Mayor Knight-McQuillan stated, ‘I wanted to recognise the work the team and DRD Road Service has achieved in securing the installation of brown tourism signage around the Dark Hedges location to direct visitors to this scenic road.
‘I recognise the team have further plans to continue their aim to increase visitors numbers to the area and have requested additional signage and increased safety measures be put in place to support this, which I would be fully supportive of.
‘The Dark Hedges is one of the Boroughs unique landscape features. It is no surprise that it features as ‘The Kings Road’ in the epic HBO series, Game of Thrones. It’s truly spellbinding and a tourism asset we in the North Coast treasure.’
Minister Mervyn Storey MLA, who also visited with the Mayor, stated, “This is an important step to raising the profile of this unique landmark. Parking, pathways and additional road signs from the main road is still on the agenda for discussion, and I will be aiming to continue those discussions with the appropriate departments as soon as possible. The support to develop the tourism opportunities has been tremendous particularly from Carol O’Kane of the Causeway Coast Heritage Trust and Colin Tweed of the Hedges Hotel, and I wish to continue the momentum from the installation of these road signs today.
These trees are now protected by a Tree Preservation Order issued by the Northern Ireland Planning Service. The Dark Hedges Preservation Trust was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant in 2011 to ensure the uniqueness of these trees is preserved and perpetuated for many decades to come.
For further information on the Dark Hedges and other tourism attractions within the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough, visitwww.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com.